Tuesday, November 3, 2015

THOUGHTS ON WRITING REVIEWS & LEAVING OUT FRIENDS


Proper review coming soon in GAD! X
  Here's a little inside baseball for ya. The process of reviewing music (and everything else for that matter) is not an exact science. Every reviewer approaches their subject differently. Some folks just run through an album once and they're done and they have an opinion and they type/write/scrawl their opinion and they are on to the next one. Others take weeks deconstructing every waking second of said release, analyzing the most minute details, of not only the audio, but even the artwork and liner notes. Some writers are clinical. Some are comical. Some are all about the music. Some give their life story in an attempt to find that music's proper context within it. None of those styles are correct or incorrect. And no critic's voice is appreciated by everyone.       
    My music review writing style kinda fluctuates. There's usually some humor or rhetoric. I can be clinical, but I tend opt for fast and excited for the zine. You make up the rules in a zine. And there's no penalty for breaking your own rules. My approach to listening to the music under review, however, is pretty much always the same. If its a CD, LP, cassette, mp3, or whatever, I always start by listening to it on the original format in which I received it (Duh!). Later, I listen to the music in the car and when walking. That gives me the opportunity to really get to know the music. If it's a CD, I just take it with me everywhere. Records and cassettes often come with a digital download. If they don't, I'll make a copy for myself. I don't share the copies because if I did that would defeat the entire purpose of trying to get folks to buy music. I used to always put the mp3s onto CDrs, but for the the last few issues, I've mostly just opted for putting the mp3s on  my smartphone. Now I have the music with me everywhere, which has worked beautifully for me.
      Except in one case. Almost a year ago, my band played a show with a cool skate punk band called Pirate Nights. I've seen 'em a few times and have made sure to talk about them whenever possible. They've even been kind enough to lend a track to our digital comp, So This Is What They Were Talkin' About.... Anyway, I spied a 12'' at their merch table and purchased it, with the full intention of writing a review. It's called The Carpetbagger's Split and it features four bands, each contributing 3-4 songs. I know and have written in the zine about 3 of the 4 groups, Pirate Nights (of course), Devil's Got A Hold On Me (also contributors to the STIWTWTA comp), and Johnny! Bad Touch. The other band, of which at the time I wasn't familiar, is Jackpot Justice.  The record was put out by L.R.S Records with Alabama Independent Music. I listened to it. SPOILER: I enjoyed it!! It came with a digital download, of which I took advantage. I saved it onto an SD card and put it in my phone....a Windows phone. There's my problem. I only used that phone for a little while and when I changed back to an Android-based phone, I simply swapped the SD card over. Unfortunately the phone had changed the format of several tracks from mp3 to WMA (booooooo!!!!). So no Carpetbaggers on the go for me. The plan was to go ahead and review other releases and do this one last. But we started running behind and out of space (like we are now...and always!). Later I just somehow had it in my head that we had published a review. My head is not to be trusted. Anyway, this a great record and I do recommend it. And I promise a review in the next issue of GAD!. Unless I fuck up. -Adam Harmless

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